8 Ways To Persevere When Depression Persists

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Although I like to cling to the promise that my depression will get better — since it always has in the past — there are long, painful periods when it seems as though I’m going to have to live with these symptoms forever.

In the past, there was a time when I had been struggling with death thoughts for what seemed like forever. One afternoon, I panicked when I surmised that they might always be with me. I embraced the wisdom of Toni Bernhard, who wrote a brilliant handbook for all of us living with chronic illness, How to Be Sick. While reading her words, I mourned the life I once had and made room to live with symptoms of depression indefinitely.

The death thoughts did eventually disappear, but I’m always mindful of my depression. Every decision I make in a 24-hour period, from what I eat for breakfast to what time I go to bed, is driven by an effort to protect my mental health.

When I hit a painful stretch that feels like forever, I return to Bernhard’s insights and to my own strategies that have helped me persevere through rough patches along the way.

Here are some of them:

1. Revisit the Past

When we’re depressed, our perspective of the past is colored by melancholy, and we don’t see things accurately. For example, if I’m in a low mood, I look back on those years when I experienced death thoughts and think that I felt nothing but depression for more than 1,000 days. It’s helpful to peak at my mood journals from that period to see that I did have some good days and good times scattered throughout the painful stretches, which means I will have good hours and days in coming hard periods as well.

I also look at photo albums that bring me back to moments of joy sprinkled in amidst the sadness; these give me hope that even though I’m still struggling, it’s possible to contribute a nice memory to my album.

2. Remember that Pain Isn’t Solid

Going through mood journals is also a good way to remind myself that pain isn’t solid. I may start the morning with excruciating anxiety, but by lunch I might be able to enjoy a nice reprieve. At night I may even be capable of laughing at a movie with the kids.

Bernhard compares the painful symptoms of her illness to the weather. “Weather practice is a powerful reminder of the fleeting nature of experience: how each moment arises and passes as quickly as a weather pattern,” she writes.

I like to think of my panic and depression as labor pains. I breathe through the anguish, trusting that the intensity will eventually fade. Hanging on to the concept of impermanence gives me consolation and relief in the midst of distress — that the emotions and thoughts and feelings I’m experiencing aren’t solid.

3. Maximize Periods of Wellness

Most people who have lived with treatment-resistant depression or another chronic illness have learned how to maximize their good moments. During painful stretches, I consider these moments to be the rest periods I need between contractions. I soak them in as much as humanly possible and let them carry me through the difficult hours ahead.

4. Act As If

Author and artist Vivian Greene has written, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass … It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

That sums up living with a chronic illness. There’s a fine line between pushing yourself too hard and not challenging yourself enough, but most of the time, I find that I feel better by “acting as if” I’m feeling okay.

So I sign up for a paddle-boarding club even though I don’t want to; I have lunch with a friend even though I have no appetite; I show up to swim practice with tinted goggles in case I cry. I tell myself “do it anyway” and operate like I’m not depressed.

5. Embrace Uncertainty

Not until I read Bernhard’s book did I realize that much of my suffering comes from my desire for certainty and predictability. I want to know when my anxiety will abate, which medications will work, and when I’ll be able to sleep eight hours again. I’m wrestling for control over the steering wheel, and the fact that I don’t have it is killing me.

The flip side, though, is that if I can inch toward an acceptance of uncertainty and unpredictability, then I can lessen my suffering. Bernhard writes:

Just seeing the suffering in that desire loosens its hold on me, whether it’s wanting so badly to be at a family gathering or clinging to the hope for positive results from a medication or desiring for a doctor not to disappoint me. Once I see the [suffering] in the mind, I can begin to let go a little.

6. Stop Your Inner Meanie and Remember Self-Compassion

Like so many others who battle depression, I talk to myself in ways I wouldn’t even address an enemy. I call myself lazy, stupid, unmotivated, and deserving of suffering. The self-denigrating tapes are so automatic that I often don’t catch how harmful the dialogue is until I’m saying the words out loud to a friend or doctor.

We can relieve some of our suffering by addressing ourselves with the same compassion that we would offer a friend or a daughter. Lately, I’m trying to catch my inner meanie and instead offer myself kindness and gentleness.

7. Attach Yourself to a Purpose

Friedrich Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”

When my depression gets to be unbearable, I picture my two kids and my husband, and I tell myself that I have to stick around for them. It’s fine if I never wear one of those “Life Is Good” T-shirts. I have a higher purpose that I must complete, like a soldier in a battle. I must see my mission through to the end. Dedicating your life to a cause can keep you alive and give you the much-needed fuel to keep going.

8. Stay in the Present

If we can manage to stay in the present moment and focus only on the thing that is right in front of us, we eliminate much of our angst because it’s almost always rooted in the past and in the future.

When I’m in a painful stretch, one day at a time is too long. I have to break it down into 15-minute periods. I tell myself that for the next 15 minutes, my only job is to do the thing in front of me, whether that’s helping my daughter with homework, doing the dishes, or writing a column. When 15 minutes are up, I commit to another 15 minutes. That way, I patch several days together, and before long, one of those days contains some joy.

 

9 Thoughts That Can Prevent You From Confronting Depression

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One of the many difficult things about mental illnesses is that an illness can construct a narrative in your head that isn’t necessarily true. With depression, a combination of stigma and difficult-to-pinpoint symptoms may make diagnosis difficult. But the symptoms of depression are well-documented, and the first step is paying attention.

Since depression can alter your thoughts, it can be hard to differentiate when the illness is talking, versus when you are “When we are depressed we are viewing the world through a lens that isn’t congruent with our external reality, but during a depressive episode, our internal reality changes so it seems like things can be hopeless which often leads us to feel helpless,” Travis McNulty, LMHC, GAL, of McNulty Counseling & Wellness, tells Bustle. “ […] Usually depression manifests its form in a cycle of negative thoughts, negative emotions, and negative behaviors that further perpetuate one another.” These negative influences can actually start to convince you that you aren’t dealing with depression.

Some of these self-doubting thoughts may begin to dissipate when you acknowledge that depression is a serious diagnosis, and that you deserve help for the things you’re struggling with. Finding a mental health professional you can trust may help get you there even sooner.

Here are nine thoughts that can mask depression for what it is, according to experts.

1. That It’s Not “That Bad”

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If you’ve been noticing yourself feeling worse and worse for a while, but have a narrative of “I’m fine” running through your head — you may want to examine that thought further.

“One of the biggest lies that depression tells us is that we are OK,” licensed clinical social worker Melissa Ifill, tells Bustle. ” […] Unfortunately, we are often slow to give credibility to [any changes] or are truly unaware of how the depression is impacting us.” So if you find yourself minimizing your feelings, remind yourself that you don’t have to be at absolute rock bottom to deserve help.

2. “I Can Deal With This On My Own”

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Depression is a serious illness, not a burden you have to bare alone. Even if you have been through blue spells before, you deserve help this time around.

“One of the major thoughts people often have when experiencing depressive symptoms is that they do not need help,” Ifill says. “They believe that the mood, feelings or thoughts will go away by themselves or if they keep behaving as if things are OK, they will be eventually.” While some wounds may heal with time alone, it’s OK to admit that you may need the support of friends, family, or a professional, for what you’re dealing with.

3. That Everything Is Bad

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While it’s harmful to downplay your symptoms, it can also be harmful to catastrophize what you’re feeling as well.

“Black and white thinking is a classic thought pattern for those who are experiencing depressive symptoms,” Ifill says. “[…] Having a good supportive network (which should include a helping professional) can assist you in challenging some of these thought patterns and help you to see the more varied perspectives that life has to offer.” Many people have felt like there’s no way out before, and there are a plethora of resources to help.

4. That It Doesn’t Matter Anyways

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Another harmful way depression can try to trick you into thinking you’re not depressed is by telling you that it doesn’t matter either way.

“Depression causes helplessness and hopelessness,” Lara Schuster Effland, regional managing director of clinical operations for Eating Recovery Center’s Insight Behavioral Health Center, tells Bustle. “One may believe they are the problem and [that they are the reason] why they feel lonely and lost.” Blaming yourself for causing the consequences of your depression is hurtful. Finding a therapist or psychiatrist may help you break out of this thought pattern.

5. That You “Just Need A Vacation”

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Minimizing your symptoms does not always take the form of self-blame. Even telling yourself that you “just need a vacation” can be a way that the depression can get ahead.

“Feeling overworked, under-rested, and overwhelmed when depressed [is common],” Effland says. If you have a sense that you’re unable to get ahead, reaching out for support on that level is likely more helpful than a few days off could be.

6. That You’re Fine Because You’re In A Relationship

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Depression doesn’t discriminate. Having depression doesn’t make you ungrateful, either. So if you’re equivocating by telling yourself that you’re fine because you’re in a relationship, have a good job, or have great friends, you may actually be minimizing a serious illness.

“People who have the ‘perfect’ situation aren’t immune to depression, and often depression can come when everything is going well, because it often can’t be explained,” LGBT-affirming therapist Katie Leikam, LCSW, LISW-CP, tells Bustle. It’s important not to discredit your need for support just because things seem good on the outside.

7. That You Don’t Cry Much, So It Doesn’t Count

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While depression can cause symptoms like excessive or easily-triggered crying, that doesn’t mean you should discount all of your other signs of the illness just because you haven’t been experiencing this.

“Depression can present itself in a lot of ways and only one of those ways is tears,” Leikam says. “Depression can also present itself in feeling lonely or numb of emotions and often people who feel numb, aren’t always able to cry.” If you’ve noticed that you’re feeling more apathetic than usual, then it’s a good first step to talk to your doctor.

8. That Excelling At Work Discounts Your Feelings

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Depression doesn’t always take away your ability to function. Many people with depression are still able to go about their daily lives. Just because you’re excelling at work doesn’t mean you don’t have depression.

“You can be on top of your game at work and still have clinical depression,” Leikam says. “Successful people can still have depression. Depression can be a chemical imbalance so it doesn’t discriminate against who has it and who doesn’t have it.” You deserve help even if you’ve been noticing symptoms, but are ignoring them because you think being high-functioning disqualifies you from the support you need.

9. That You’re Just Not “Normal”

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Mental health stigma can be incredibly powerful, especially if you’ve internalized it to the point that you believe something is wrong with you for feeling this way.

“Without an understanding of mental illness individuals often believe that depression is an indication that they’re not normal anymore, and that they are somehow different,” Dr. Neeraj Gandotra, MD, chief medical officer at Delphi Behavioral Health Group, tells Bustle. Reminding yourself that you’re still you, and that any changes to your health are worth taking care of, may help you get the boost you need to seek help.

Separating yourself from the symptoms of your depression can help you from being tricked by negative self-talk. “I like to help my clients refer to their depressive symptoms as ‘the depression,'” Ifill says. This way, you may be able to externalize the symptoms and emotions associated with depression, potentially making it easier to find a professional to support you.

If You’re Having Suicidal Thoughts, Please Read This

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By Nikki Zarrella

I’ve now known, and I mean genuinely knew in person, spoke with, or was friends with, four people who have committed suicide. Attending those funerals, seeing all of the people who truly loved and cared for that person… How could they leave all of these people behind? I thought to myself. Even though, deep down, I knew how. Because I’ve been on both ends of this. I know how you can contemplate it, I know how the thought can cross your mind when you feel like you’ve been pushed so far, you’ve been hurt so much, suffered for so long. I have mourned for those individuals who have committed suicide, but I have also had dark moments when those thoughts have seeped into my mind too.

But why? Many people may wonder. Why would the thought of taking your own life ever cross your mind? Well, there are a million reasons why. And it could include anything from life trauma, to chemical imbalances in the brain, to overpowering stress, anxiety, or depression, or just trying to live in a world where you constantly feel like you don’t belong or like you’re always being knocked down. Or sometimes. We just don’t know why we feel the way we do, and we may never know.

In this life, people can be viciously cruel and extremely selfish. Even sometimes the people we love most can hurt us more than anything, or can let us down over and over again. People will hurt others without thinking about the repercussions of their actions, or even stopping to reflect on how they may have impacted another person in a negative, toxic way. Or sometimes, the pain is not caused by anyone else at all. Sometimes, we just feel alone. Like no one could ever possibly imagine or understand what’s going on inside our heads because we don’t even understand it. We feel crazy, dissociated from the world like a lost soul wandering deserted streets.

Suicide does not discriminate. Look at some of the most famous role models, the individuals who were idolized by millions of people, but it still wasn’t enough to keep them here. It wasn’t enough to fight off the demons or suppress the harmful thoughts. Kurt CobainChris CornellChester Bennington…the list goes on. I recently went to a Disturbed concert where lead singer David Draiman took the time to talk to us about suicide awareness and the “demons all of us are fighting,” each and every day. He told us that we must all be advocates not only for ourselves, but for those who are struggling mentally.

“Intervene. Be an advocate. Don’t wait until you’re at their funerals standing in front of their casket”

David urged. Friends, family, whomever that person is who is coming to you, reaching out to you at their darkest hour, be an advocate for them. Help them. In any way you possibly can. Suicide is never ever the answer, it is not a solution, eliminate it as an option. It is something that is permanent. There is no going back, no rewinding time. It is something that inflicts pain upon those who love you…even if you don’t always feel their love, it’s there. I promise. And you leaving this world will only hurt them, more than a thousand knives through the heart, more than you could ever imagine. You would leave a void in their lives that could never be filled. You will be gone, and you will be leaving them behind to hurt, to mourn, and to try and live an impossibly normal life afterwards.

The world we live in right now is all kinds of messed up. Men are taught to be strong, women are often seen as fragile, but everyone has demons, burdens to carry, weight on their shoulders. Everyone feels pain. We just all handle those demons and burdens in different ways. Distorted self-image, body shaming, bullying, traumatic events, the internal and external scars many of us carry with us…it is not an easy time to be navigating through this crazy world. But no matter what, you always have to remember that you are not alone. You have the power to change your life for the better. Regardless of how shitty other people can be or how heavy that weight on your shoulders may feel at times, the power is within you and the choices you make to change things, get the help you need and deserve, and to make a life for yourself.

It won’t be easy, and there will be days when it’s overwhelmingly difficult. There will be days much darker than others, but that means there will be brighter days too. I still have days where I feel like I’m drowning. Like every time I come up for air it is only to be knocked down again by a crashing wave. But in that darkness, in that web of anxiety, fear, and pain I often find myself tangled in, I remind myself of the people who love me. I remind myself of the years I have not yet lived. The places I want to travel to. The parts of the world I have not seen. My future filled with mystery, excitement, hopes, and dreams. The endless possibilities of where I could go, who I could meet, who I could become, what I could accomplish.

Life is a long and winding road, but you must stay strong. Don’t ever give up on yourself. There are millions of people out there who are struggling, who fight every single day to put on a brave face, even when deep down inside they feel broken, like they’re falling apart and are unable to keep picking up the pieces. But they keep on fighting because it’s worth it. Life is worth it. It will bring joyous moments, unforgettable memories…often at times when you least expect it. It is worth it to be here for the people you love, and who love you more than you know. You just need to hold on for the ride and stick around to witness all that will come, all that’s in store for you.

But in the meantime, go to therapy – any kind, don’t stop looking until you find one that works for you. There are endless amounts of options out there today. There are so many ways to find guidance, support, and someone who will truly listen and want to help you. Talk about your feelings, find a support group, look into appropriate medicines if you need to, confide in friends and family, begin a healthy hobby, adopt a pet, join a club, listen to music that soothes your soul, start traveling the world, focus on yourself. Do whatever it takes. Just don’t leave this earth. Do not shatter someone else’s world by leaving your own behind. Someone out there needs you, someone out there loves you. Live your life and stay alive to see your future come to fruition. And remember, there’s always a reason to keep on fighting for your life. Just don’t ever give up on yourself. Keep fighting. Keep staying strong. And keep living.

I Don’t Want to Do Anything – What’s Wrong with Me?

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By Marie Miguel

There are times in our lives when we feel down, and we can’t figure out what the source of the problem is. There’s a difference between feeling sad and being depressed. When you don’t want to do anything – not even simple things that you enjoy – there’s a problem. When you find yourself with no motivation, it’s time to seek help because you may be depressed. When you’re thinking “I don’t want to do anything,” there’s something inside of you that’s telling you that life isn’t worth enjoying or pursuing, and that’s not true. You have individual interests and motivation, and there’s inside you. You have things that make you happy, but you can’t see them at the moment. That’s the problem; when you feel stagnant and lack positive emotion. It’s a symptom that shouldn’t be ignored, and it’s important to know that you can get through this time.

Pushing past the “I don’t want to do anything” feeling

One way to push past this feeling is to pursue therapy, but getting to that point is difficult because your brain is telling you that there’s no point in doing anything; including going to therapy. It’s essential that you work past those feelings of stagnancy. It’s vital to remember that what your brain is telling you isn’t true; there is a point to live, and you do have things that you enjoy. It’s about pushing through and remembering that the thoughts going through your mind are attributed to depression; they aren’t a reflection of who you are as a person.

Depression lies

Depression isn’t who you are. Depression is a mental illness that has symptoms such as lacking motivation, sleeping too much or not sleeping enough, changes in appetite, thoughts of emptiness or hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide or a plan to end one’s life. If you’re having thoughts of suicide, please call 911 or go to the emergency room. Contact a mental health professional and get medical attention immediately. Depression is a legitimate illness, and it needs to be addressed. If you’re feeling an emptiness inside, it could be because of this mental illness. It is treatable, it isn’t your fault, and there’s nothing wrong with you.

There is nothing wrong with you

Hear this now: there is nothing wrong with you. If you have depression, you are not alone. You’re struggling with a medical condition that many people, in fact, millions of people in the US alone, battle every single day. If you look at it that way, you’ll be more apt to seek help. It’s okay to acknowledge that you feel hopeless, as long as you pursue something that’ll help you move past this feeling. You’ve got this. Things will not be this way forever, and you will be able to move forward, no matter how hard it seems. Remember a time when you felt emptiness or sadness and were able to push past it and keep going. If you’re reading this article, you are alive. If you’re reading these words, you are strong, and you deserve to seek help.

Online counseling

Online counseling is an excellent place to seek help for feelings of emptiness and that “I don’t want to do anything” feeling. You are allowed to feel lost, but your online counselor is there to help you push through these feelings and find a way to cope. You might feel helpless, but your online counselor believes in you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

This is a featured post by site sponsor Better Help.

 

10 Common Signs And Symptoms Of Depression—And When To Get Help

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By Hallie Gould

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 18.5% of adults in the United States experience mental illness every year. That’s a significant portion of our population—one in five people—yet the stigma and misunderstanding that surround mental health remain. If you are feeling symptoms of depression, talk to your doctor to learn more about treatment options.

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We throw around the phrase “I’m depressed” to describe a stressful situation at work or the end of a relationship. But just like the word “crazy,” for which the etymology has shifted over time, depression can often be mistaken for a way to characterize an emotion rather than a mental health issue. It trivializes those who suffer from the disorder, a real chemical imbalance that creates negative and difficult circumstances beyond our control.

Because it all can seem convoluted, the definitions melting into each other, it’s often challenging to know when to seek help. “Treatment should be sought for depression when the symptoms are interfering with the quality of your life,” says therapist and mental health expert Scott Dehorty, LCSW-C. “Depression is treatable, and there is no reason to suffer in silence.”

To get a better understanding of the hallmark symptoms of depression, I reached out to two experts for their opinions and advice. Below, they detail 10 different, common warning signs to look out for. Keep reading for their thoughts.

Next Steps: 

“Any of these symptoms can occur with any of us at any given time, and that can be completely normal,” notes Lindsay Henderson, Psy.D., a psychologist who treats patients virtually via the telehealth app LiveHealth Online. “But if you are experiencing more and more of these symptoms, or they are growing in severity, start paying a bit more attention to how you are feeling overall. If you notice that these symptoms are impacting your overall functioning, it may be time to seek professional help. The good news is that help can come in many forms and individuals have options for how they address their mental health.”

We know that things like social activity, healthy eating, good sleep, and regular exercise all directly contribute to a healthier mood. If you notice yourself experiencing symptoms of depression, take a look at your daily routines and overall physical health to identify areas that can improve. “It can be beneficial to engage in therapy and talk with a mental health professional about what you are experiencing,” says Henderson. “Not only can a therapist help assess and diagnose the experiences you may be having, but they can also offer tips and tools to better understand, manage, and cope with the many complex emotions you feel.”

Here’s the thing: We know the idea of finding a therapist and getting to appointments can be overwhelming. Online therapy can be a wonderful way to break down many of the barriers that can get in the way of accessing therapy, as the appointment can take place wherever you feel most comfortable. Talk to your doctor to make the best plan for you and seek out an appointment with a psychiatrist. Your doctor may talk with you about the pros and cons of taking medication, which can be particularly helpful with depression and anxiety, but not for everyone. It’s best to talk first with a professional about your options before making any decisions.

Diabetes and Depression: Which Comes First?

See Psychology Today Article Here
By Chris Palmer

Diabetes is now an epidemic in the United States. About one-third of the US population has either diabetes or pre-diabetes! It is well established that people who have diabetes are at much higher risk of developing clinical depression– about double the risk of people who don’t have diabetes. What is much less appreciated is that people who start off with depression, with normal blood sugars at the time, are at much higher risk of developing diabetes in the future – the rates are about 60% higher than in people without depression. Why do these disorders go together so frequently? Is it more than just a coincidence?

First of all, let’s define what we mean by “depression.” We’re not talking about simply feeling bad or tired for a few days.  We’re talking about major depressive disorder, or clinical depression – the illness that leaves people feeling depressed or sad most days, that robs them of almost all joy and pleasure in life, that disrupts their sleep, leaves them feeling tired and exhausted, interferes with their ability to work or concentrate, and might even have them contemplating suicide as a way to end their suffering.  Clinical depression is all too common, and is now the leading cause of disability in the world!

One of the most popular theories about why people with diabetes have higher rates of depression is that it’s difficult to have diabetes, and maybe the stress of having a chronic illness, with worries about blood sugar levels, diet, and taking pills or insulin injections would leave anyone feeling down, if not downright depressed. Given that diabetes most commonly occurs in those who are overweight or obese, another theory is that our society’s biasagainst heavy people might take a toll on self-image, and might make getting a job or dating more difficult, which could leave people feeling depressed. While both of these theories may, in fact, play a role in causing clinical depression, it appears that there is much more to this connection than simply stress, society, and psychology.

Inflammation is found in both disorders. In fact, inflammation in the bloodstream has been found in many chronic disorders, including both diabetes and clinical depression. No one knows for sure what is causing this inflammation, and we don’t yet know if it is causing these disorders, or simply a consequence of these disorders.  In other words, it’s possible that inflammation causes both depression and diabetes, or having diabetes or depression causes the inflammation.  Clearly, there’s more to the story than just inflammation – otherwise, everyone with it would develop both diabetes and depression.  However, if inflammation is a risk factor for both disorders, it’s not at all surprising that these disorders go together, and this would point to a biological reason for the overlap in disorders, as opposed to simply a psychological reaction to being overweight or having diabetes.

Cortisol is another factor. We know that cortisol is often elevated in people with depression, and we also know that cortisol worsens blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, so this may also be a factor in how depression can make diabetes more difficult to control.

Does the overlap of these disorders really matter?

Unfortunately, all too often, medical professionals assume that it doesn’t – they assume that people simply have two different disorders that really have nothing to do with each other. In reality, people who have diabetes are not only twice as likely to develop depression, but when they do, on average, it lasts 4 times longer than in people without diabetes – 92 weeks vs 22 weeks.  That’s almost two years of suffering from depression, even when getting treatment!  Likewise, depression can affect diabetes.  When depression occurs in people with diabetes, their blood sugar control gets much worse – they tend to have higher blood glucose readings, worse insulin resistance, and higher rates of diabetes complications, such as blood vessel damage. Some people assume that this is because people who are depressed might eat more junk food to comfort themselves, or may not have enough energy to take care of themselves.  While these might be true, it’s also possible that the inflammation from having clinical depression also worsens their diabetes, and that it’s truly a physical thing, not a mental thing or a matter of willpower.

What to do?

1.       If you have diabetes, be aware that you are at higher risk for developing clinical depression, and seek help if you notice these symptoms.  All too often, people ignore them, and assume they are just getting older and running out of steam.  Your primary care doctor can help assess if you have clinical depression, and can likely start appropriate treatment.

2.       If you have clinical depression, know that you are at risk for developing diabetes, which could make your depression even worse. Routine screening of your blood sugars can be helpful. If you have depression that is not getting better with current treatments, you should get checked for diabetes to see if this might be contributing to your poor response to treatment.

3.       Consider a change in diet.  There is some evidence that the Mediterranean diet can help improve both diabetes and mood, even in people with chronic depression. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes more whole foods and eliminates processed foods and junk food, which may be enough of a dietary change for some people. Alternatively, diets low in carbohydrate and higher in fat, such as the ketogenic diet, have shown more dramatic results, even reversing diabetes in a study of over 300 diabetics, and this can help improve mood and energy as well. If you have diabetes, however, you should consult your doctor before trying a ketogenic diet, as your medications and/or insulin will need to be reduced rapidly due to the powerful effects of this diet.

4.       Exercise! There is abundant evidence that exercise can help both diabetes and depression. It’s a new year, so if you haven’t already started a new year’s exercise routine, time to start now. You don’t need to start at a gym if that makes you uncomfortable – you can start with short walks and work your way up to longer walks and short jogs along the way. If your knees can’t handle that, think about swimming, cycling, yoga, or a myriad of other ways to move your body and get your blood flowing. If you have severe diabetes and haven’t exercised in years, talk to your doctor first about starting safely.

The Depression Symptom We Rarely Talk About

See HuffPost Article Here
By Emily Blackwood

Anyone who has ever gotten cut off in traffic or stubbed their toe on a coffee table knows how quickly anger can go from zero to 100. Most of the time, getting mad is just a part of being human. But in some cases, constant rage could be a sign of a deeper issue: depression.

A 2014 study found that that anger — both overt and suppressed — is actually a common sign of the mental health condition. Psychologists suggest that people who have difficulties coping with their anger are at risk of developing depression. Experts have even described the mental illness as “self-directed anger” or “anger turned inwards.”

“It doesn’t always look like depression, but it is,” said Marianna Strongin, a licensed clinical psychologist in New York.

Research has shown anger is associated with “greater symptom severity and worse treatment response” when it’s part of a mental health condition like depression. That’s why Strongin encourages anyone who is feeling angrier than usual to reach out for help instead of brushing it off.

“A patient will say they’ve noticed, or their friends have noticed, that they’re lashing out more,” she said. “Although they come in to address their anger, when we start digging, the anger is usually a symptom of depression.”

Rather than feeling sad or empty, like we commonly believe people with depression do, some people more quickly turn to anger. Strongin said that’s because it’s often easier to feel angry than it is to experience more morose emotions.

“Sadness is much harder to experience,” she said. “Sadness is a phase, and anger is a verb ― it moves through you. So sometimes [people with depression] distract themselves to not feel sad, so instead, anger gets triggered.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, many of the estimated 16.2 million American adults who live with depression are women ages 18 to 25. But Florida-based psychologist Sherry Benton says it’s typically men who exhibit anger as a symptom.

“Their natural inclination tends to lean toward isolation,” she said. “With this comes the need to withdraw from relationships with others, even ones that are healthy. Anger is a seamless secondary symptom to this, since lashing out is generally an effective method of pushing people away.”

Because men so often push loved ones away and mask their depression entirely, it’s more likely to be deadly. Approximately 17 percent of men will have major depression at least once in their lives, and men are 4 times more likely than women to die by suicide, according to a Harvard Medical School report.

But that doesn’t mean women don’t experience anger as a symptom of depression too. Bess Meade, an art director, designer and writer living in Oregon, was diagnosed with depression when she was 19 and experienced anger as a main symptom. She noticed it was getting out of hand when she snapped at a co-worker during a meeting and broke a window at an ex-boyfriend’s house.

“My mom has commented before that I seem angry, and that I should ‘do something about it,’” said Meade, who is now 29. “I think I had a perception of depression as being a weakness, which I don’t believe at all anymore, but made me hesitant to call a spade a spade when I was younger.”

Meade was able to manage her condition and her anger symptoms through a combination of antidepressants and healthy lifestyle changes.

“I started going to yoga classes while I was really struggling with depression about a year ago, and definitely feel like it has increased my awareness of my body and my breathing, which can sometimes help me get out of a funk,” she said.

“With just anger, it’s never just anger. It’s always symbolic of something not working.”

– MARIANNA STRONGIN, LICENSED CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST

In addition to medication, breathing practices and exercise, Strongin said journaling can be a beneficial tool in managing anger and getting to the root cause of a patient’s depression. She tells her patients to write down their negative thoughts, then question them and look for evidence that what they’re saying is true.

“If the thought is ‘I’m not good enough,’ I’d ask, ‘How are you not?’” she said. “When you have insecure thoughts, follow them up with answers.”

But no matter what tools you find useful, the first step is getting help. Talking with a mental health professional can help you manage depression and its accompanying symptoms.

“With just anger, it’s never just anger,” Strongin said. “It’s always symbolic of something not working.”

“Living With” is a guide to navigating conditions that affect your mind and body. Each month, HuffPost Life will tackle very real issues that people live with by offering stories, advice and chances to connect with others who understand what it’s like. In February, we’re covering depression. Got an experience you’d like to share? Email wellness@huffpost.com.

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

8 Things People With High-Functioning Depression Do Differently

See ThoughtCatalog Article Here
By Hannah Irelan

1. They lose the happiness in the little things. The things that used to grant them their much-needed escape from the world now feel like burdens holding them down. They aren’t brightened by the idea of joy, they are crushed by it, but they work like hell to participate anyway.

2. They can’t accept the idea that sometimes, mistakes happen, and that doesn’t mean they’ve lost their worth. Mistakes can sometimes feel like a death sentence on our dreams for everyone, but for people suffering from high-functioning depression, mistakes can often be the catalyst for crippling self-deprecation.

3. They never think they’ve done good enough. They are in a constant state of self-doubt. They never feel worthy enough, safe enough, of like they’ve done a good enough job.

4. They’re always tired, but they always show up. While their life may always feel like an uphill battle, they always come with a sword in hand, ready to fight.

5. The little struggles we all face start looking like major hurdles. They are unable to distinguish what is dire and truly difficult, to what their depression is morphing into as a major hurdle in their life.

6. They can’t focus on the future because they are still worried about the past. Working hand in hand with self-doubt, people with high-functioning depression are in constant turmoil about if their life is where it should be.

7. They just can’t slow down. People with high-functioning depression have a leniency towards perfection, and often don’t rest until that standard is met. They struggle to accept anything less than this diluted idea, and oftentimes, this is a struggle that follows them through their entire life.

8. They have good days too. They can push through the bad times and see the good in things, too, but that doesn’t mean that they still aren’t battling with the silent demons they are trying so hard to keep covered.

Acknowledge that you hear them. Give them some love. Believe me, they need it most.

What It Means To Be An Introvert With Depression

See ThoughtCatalog Article Here
By Alyssa Lynn Malmquist

What’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you smiling more? Why aren’t you talking? Why aren’t you having fun? Is everything okay? Did something happen? Why can’t you snap out of it?

These are some of the questions commonly spit at someone who isn’t so visually energized. Although the person may not display outward, they could be enjoying their time even more so than you, even if that’s not the story their face is telling.

Introverts don’t always mesh well in a social environment, and to no one’s surprise, depression doesn’t either. Depression is still unknown to a lucky some, and it can be difficult to talk about while even harder to understand.

Introverts are constantly labeled negatively based on peripheral judgment while internally, they could just be re-charging. Perhaps they’re reflecting or taking in a new environment using energy that runs out at the speed of light.

So, with depression added to the mix, the behavior can be more than off-putting pushing the people closest to you away. Temporarily, this is what the introvert wants, but the opposite of what the depressed person needs. Introverts find solace in isolation as it allows them to charge their batteries and prepare for their next interaction. It’s hardest to feel energized in unfamiliar settings or with people you hardly know. So, when the person is also depressed, it makes it even more difficult to ask for the help they so desperately need. The energy is not there as comfort in seclusion grows. This comfort is masked as something positive, as loneliness trickles in alongside hopelessness and depression.

Being on the receiving end can be tough to comprehend and take on. So, pushing these people away can feel natural even though it’s the opposite of what they need. Asking for help is hard enough for anyone, but with the debilitating duo of depression and the behavior of an introvert, it feels impossible to seek help. Your introverted nature puts you inside a bubble while depression keeps you there. Depression keeps you there while pushing you further inside, to the point where you no longer see a point in breaking out.

If you have a friend that shows these signs, know that help is not simple. You alone can’t help the problem, but you can be a part of the solution. Helping someone with introverted tendencies that are battling depression is complex. What your friend needs most is support. What your friend needs is the help they didn’t ask for. Don’t let them push you away; they need you more than they can communicate.

Oregon Lawmaker Seeks $2 Million For Mental Health Centers

See Author Article Here
By Elliot Njus

The Oregon Senate’s Housing Committee advanced a bill that would enact a statewide rent control policy and restrict evictions, sending it to the full Senate for a vote.

Lawmakers heard nearly four hours of testimony from renters and landlords as Senate Bill 608 had its first hearing in the Senate’s Housing Committee. It’s poised to cruise through the Legislature, with support from leaders of the Democratic majority in both the House and Senate.

Oregon lawmakers propose unorthodox approach to rent control

Oregon lawmakers propose unorthodox approach to rent control

Their proposal attempts to sidestep longstanding criticism of the polarizing policy, but it’s also drawn some misgivings from rent control supporters.

Two landlord groups, the Rental Housing Alliance Oregon and the Oregon Rental Housing Association, are both remaining neutral, with their leaders saying the bill is palatable, if not appealing.

That’s a relatively friendly position for their constituency – both statewide advocacy groups geared toward small landlords.

“There’s a lot here for landlords to dislike,” said Jim Straub, the legislative director for the Oregon Rental Housing Association. “But I’d also like to recognize it for what it isn’t: an industry killer. As written, I do not believe it will be catastrophic to our livelihood.”

The larger Multifamily NW, whose Portland-area membership includes larger landlords and property management companies, opposes the bill, as did many landlords who testified on their own behalf. They argued it would hurt business and discourage investment, resulting in substandard housing.

They pointed to a large body of academic research that’s found rent control policies in other states have resulted in a reduced housing supply and higher rents.

“At best, Senate Bill 608 will have no effect,” said Deborah Imse, the executive director of Multifamily NW, “but at worst it will make housing less affordable in the long run.”

Renters and tenants’ rights activists largely argued the bill would help protect against eye-popping rent increases that have frequently grabbed headlines across the state.

“It doesn’t solve the entire problem,” said Katrina Holland, the executive director of the Community Alliance of Tenants. “It certainly does take a giant leap forward by giving a measure of predictability for hundreds of thousands of renters in hundreds of cities across the state.”

Senate Republicans on Monday released statements in opposition to the proposal.

The bill would cap annual rent increases to 7 percent plus inflation throughout the state — a rate that’s much higher than most municipal rent control policies in other states. In many California communities with rent control, for example, affected apartments see their rents climb only by the rate of inflation, or a fraction of it, each year. (Annual increases in the Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation, for western states has ranged from just under 1 percent to 3.6 percent over the past five years.)

The rent increase restrictions would exempt new construction for 15 years, and landlords would be free to raise rent without any cap if a renter left of their own accord. Subsidized rent would also be exempt.

The bill also would require most landlords to cite a cause, such as failure to pay rent or other lease violation, when evicting renters after the first year of tenancy.

Some “landlord-based” for-cause evictions would be allowed, including the landlord moving in or a major renovation. In those cases, landlords would have to provide 90 days’ notice and pay one month’s rent to the tenant, though landlords with four or fewer units would be exempt from the payment.

The bill would not lift the state ban on cities implementing their own, more restrictive rent control policies.

Sen. Fred Girod, R-Stayton, the ranking Republican on the Senate Housing Committee, said Senate Democrats flatly rejected a suite of amendments, including the removal of an emergency clause. With the clause, the bill would take effect when it’s signed by the governor; if passed without it, the bill would take effect next year. Girod abruptly left the hearing after it became clear the amendments would not pass.

Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, the only Republican remaining after Girod left, cast the lone “no” vote.

“We’re making policy that ultimately going to be counterproductive to hat all the people who testified said they actually want,” Knopp said.

Sen. Shemia Fagan, D-Portland, who chairs the housing committee, said she shared concerns from people who testified it doesn’t go far enough.

“I wish this bill would do more, and I would be willing to go further,” she said.

— Elliot Njus